travel Tag

It’s been an adventurous summer climbing and exploring the loveliness of the West – now it’s time to venture a bit further!

I’m excited to say I’ll be heading to Australia at the end of the week for an adventure that is a lovely combination of film, design, photography, & adventure-based learning!  Sounds epic, right?

I’ll be a part of visually telling the story of 50 Sports in 50 Weeks – a unique endeavour to travel the world and experience 50 culturally significant sports alongside renown athletes in over 35 countries – all in an attempt to inspire kids (and families) to be more active (and healthy!).  From trekking in South Africa to slack-lining in Germany, I’ll be helping to capture and craft the visual story to share with the world!

I’ll be joining the crew for the first two-week-leg in Australia (including surfing, swimming, fencing, & beach volleyball!), with the possibility of extending it for a year – either way, exciting times are ahead!

Check back for updates, or follow the journey on Facebook!

It’s been an exciting few weeks with lots of mini-adventures and new design endeavours, so I wanted to take a minute and fill you in on what this summer is shaping up to look like!

I suppose the big thing is that I’m kind of relocating to Chile on Wednesday…
Bet you didn’t see that one coming!

I’m pretty excited to say that I’ll be headed to Santiago to spend at least a few months working with the folks at Only Bloody Human. They are in the process of making some pretty rad interactive adventure films, and I’ll be jumping in and helping out with the visual side of things, which is pretty exciting! I’m sure there’s a lot more that could be said about that, but in honour of keeping things simple, I’ll just say I literally couldn’t be more excited, and look forward to exciting adventures in design! (Also, did I mention that means I’m going to Chile??)

I’ll also be working with Rustic Pathways for a few weeks later this summer, doing photography, videography, and guiding for high school students in their Spain programs (including a stint on the coast and in the Pyranees!). If you know about my interest in adventure-based learning, you’ll understand why I’m pretty excited about this opportunity as well! (Creo que necesito a practicar mi español mucho! Tal vez a hablar con fluidez al fin???)

Spain will be followed closely by a 12,500ft trek up Western Europe’s tallest Mont Blanc, with a handful of friends from Belfast! Some of which also happen to be the folks at C2SummitAdventures, whom I also happen to be partnering with and selling a couple prints in their online shop (shameless plug?)! So give them some love and pop over and check out some lovely photos in their new shop (including the one below, from Mt. Blanc, by Steven Carmichael!).

And in other news, in case you missed it, I’m honoured to have been asked to contribute an article about last year’s Yukon Quest adventure to Sidetracked Magazine – have a read here if you’re interested and/or want to see some cute dogs!

So there you have it – looking forward to a summer of challenges, opportunities, adventures, and endless creativity!

#Epic2013

Yosemite is one of those places that somehow gets more beautiful every time you turn a corner. It’s like the light hits the rock at the perfect angle to make it seem as if it’s actually glowing, and then I turn around and there’s a giant waterfall with a rainbow forming in the mist. And when I think it can’t get anymore unreal, I drive on these windy roads through trees with the most perfect sun rays beaming through them until we get to an open snow-covered field with some bizarre cloud just floating there, 30 meters off the ground. And I look up and see El Capitan towering so high above us in all her glory. It’s actually breathtaking.

We ended up in Yosemite kind of as the result of a passing comment after watching one of those timelapse videos of Yosemite on youtube. It was one of those “We should totally go to Yosemite when you come!” kind of moments, turned into “Wait, why don’t we go to Yosemite when you come?”.

Eleven hour drive? Totally doable…so we made it happen.

We, in this case, references myself and my Northern Irish friend, Annie. Annie and I initially bonded in Belfast over our mutual love for huskies and affinity for climbing. I think it’s fair to say we pretty much bring out the kid in each other (in a ‘let’s eat s’mores for breakfast because we can‘ kind of way). So, having her spend a few weeks exploring Arizona – on her first trip to America – was pretty exciting, to say the least. After hitting up some local stuff, naturally, we embarked on a bit of a Southwest roadtrip… hence our kicking it off in Yosemite. Because Yosemite is beautiful.

As a bonus, Yosemite is pretty much a climbing mecca.

Just, maybe not in the winter.

The thing we discovered about climbing in the winter – aside from frozen fingers – is that ‘distinct climbers trails’ are actually more like ‘obscure paths further obscured by inches of snow’. Nonetheless, we had decided we wanted to climb some sport routes on the base of El Capitan, weren’t so deterred by the invisible trails, and just started heading up to the base via our own route. We had a few scary run ins with slippery boulders and falling trees (!), but managed to find the routes eventually…although we couldn’t climb due to ice and snow melt soaking the rock. Major bummer!

The view was totally worth it, though!

We ended up climbing a crack at Swan Slab near our campsite (the legendary Camp 4!) and felt a little less saddened after our hand/knee/foot/face jams got us to the top. (Note-to-self: work on crack climbing.)

There was also a nice surprise halfway through my rappel back down. The conversation went something like this:

Annie: “*Gasp* HURRY UP!”
Me: “…what?!”
Annie: “Eeeee! Go faster! Hurry up!”
Me: “WHAT? What did you -”
Annie: “There’s a DEER behind you!!!”

Clearly, our enthusiasm and priorities were in the right place!

Anyway, one thing I can say for sure: we are coming back for you, Yosemite!

Epic people in epic places make for epic stories. And epic photos.

Like, last year was pretty incredible. From finishing my Master’s degree to climbing some stunning mountains to trekking across the sub-Arctic in the name of photography, it was full of incredible adventures and really great work opportunities alike.

But my favourite parts? They were the moments on the tops of mountains eating cold pasta and watching crazy clouds roll into vast valleys. The moments where we pushed ourselves, and each other, to do more than we thought we were capable of. The moments where it was pouring down rain and we found joy in climbing anyway. The moments sitting below dozens of tree-houses, swapping stories with complete strangers by the fireside. Those are my favourite kinds of stories – the ones where people embrace the diversity and beauty of adventure, even if in the tiniest of ways.

As a photographer/designer, essentially my goal with LiveLaugh is to “explore new and innovative ways of visual storytelling” – be that innovative design solutions or telling tales of adventure through photography, that vision and focus hasn’t changed.

As of right now I’m most fiery-passionate about adventure. I believe that when you are passionate about something is when you are most creative, so this year I’ve decided I want to focus this blog more personally and specifically on telling more tales of adventure and the people that make them special.

Stay tuned!

#TWP

I’ve always loved the Scottish highlands. The hills are an incredible shade of green and the sky usually dons an impressive display, almost as if it is in a constant battle with itself over whether to shine brightly with sun or poor with rain, resulting in continuously dramatic cloudscapes.

So I was pretty excited to head off with a group of friends and fellow adventurers to climb the Isle of Skye’s notorious ‘In Pinn’ earlier this month.

The trek to reach the pinnacle was incredible, and the view seemed to get more spectacular with every turn, almost as if we were in the deep reaches of the Peruvian mountains or some otherworldly place. When we finally reached the peak, looking over the ridge revealed an incredible mountain-scape, where we could literally see clouds rolling over the peaks and into the valley below – easily one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen!

And of course, the climb to the top of the pinnacle itself was pretty epic, and revealed the best view of all. Here are a few photos of some of the climbing action that went down!